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2 Leominster Stores Appeal Beer-wine License Denials

February 12, 2019

LEOMINSTER -- Two of four businesses denied a permit to sell wine and beer by the License Commission in November have appealed the ruling to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

The two businesses, New England Farms Inc., and Richdale Food Shops, both operate as convenience stores and had their applications for the permits denied. They will have a hearing on Feb. 28 in Boston.

Tom Pratt, the owner/treasurer of New England Farms, when contacted, deferred comment on the appeal until after the hearing was held and the ABCC’s ruling was made. Barznab Khan, the owner of Richdale Food Shop, echoed Pratt’s non-comment.

When the commission met in November, five businesses had applied for permits to sell beer and wine.

One, Shancakes LLC, located at 40 Main St, was granted the beer and wine sales permit.

However, in addition to New England Farms and Richdale Food Shops, Leominster Market, located at 8 Lancaster St. and Aksel Market, located at 104 Mechanic St., had their permits denied.

About the four businesses that were denied the alcohol permits, commission Chairwoman Lynn Gaudet and commissioners Kenneth Tata and James Kelly Jr., said that after visiting each of the establishments one of the primary reasons for the denial was the “close proximity to five establishments that sell not only beer and wine, but also have full liquor licenses.”

The commissioners concluded that “there was not a public need to issue a license at that location and that granting a license was not in the best interest of the city.”

While the location of the stores was one of the primary factors in the denials, the commission did point out that customers at Richdale Food Shops might have a difficult time getting in and out of the business’ parking, despite having adequate parking and security cameras.

New England Farms, located at 180 Central St., said the commission, had adequate parking and a suitable designated display area, but still denied the license based on the store’s proximity to other sellers of alcohol.

The commission raised parking issues with the Leominster Market and Aksel Market.

The permit denials of Leominster Market and Aksel Market will stand for now. Each has five days to appeal the commission’s decision.

A spokesman for the License Commission said its members would not comment on the permit denials of New England Farms and Richdale Food Shops because of the upcoming appeal before the ABCC.

After the ABCC issues its ruling, if the businesses aren’t satisfied, they can appeal to Superior Court. he same is true of the License Commission, if its members aren’t satisfied with the decision.

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